Retiring from sport? 5 common challenges athletes face transitioning out of sport
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Athletes face many challenges when they retire and transition out of their sports careers. Sports psychologist Patrick Elliot discusses five common challenges here:
1. Change in self identity (who am I now that I'm not a soccer player? That's a really big question!)
2. Change in people's attitudes towards you (now that you're not a rockstar athlete, people may treat you differently)
3. Thinking you're not good enough at anything besides your sport (going from being the absolute best at something, to not being the best at anything in a split second)
4. Unable to replace feelings of mastery (when you no longer get those wins, fake out that defender, make that shot...when you don't feel the "positive surge of emotion" from participating in your sport, it can lead to frustration)
5. Decreased sense of purpose (in sports, there's always a goal and path to get to that goal. In life post sport, it can be disorienting, to say the least, to no longer have a clear goal or path forward)
Are there challenges above that resonate with you?
As an athlete retiring from soccer, a big one I personally experienced was a decreased sense of purpose (although I can definitely relate to just about every challenge listed above). I found it incredibly challenging to go from having a very clear path forward to no path at all.
What was I working towards now that I was in the real world, in life post sport? What were my goals, both in career and life in general? And then how did I define a clear path to achieve those goals?
I'm itching to talk about approaches I took, and the trial and error I embraced to find those goals and path forward, so watch out for a future blog that dives deeper into retired athletes' transitions out of sport.
Check out Patrick's article, it's a good and quick read!